Kokoro Connect 07 — Sin, the Church and Judgement

The club members are set free to unleash their wildest desires, and what they do? Sleep in and yell out embarrassing things. I love how down to earth this show is.

Sin and Blame

Now that everyone’s inner desires are unleashed, the club members begin to do harmful things that are beyond their control. In the language of Paul, these actions are called “sin.” Furthermore, according to Paul, the propensity to sin is built into our very nature:

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? — Romans 7:14-24

So was it Yui’s fault that she beat up those people? Yui believes it is her fault. Iori claims it isn’t, because it was the power of Heartseed doing something funny to her.

If we’re looking at this from the perspective of Paul, then Yui is simply not able to control the power of sin within her. She will keep sinning despite all her best efforts. So is the situation with Heartseed any different? She can’t stop herself either way.

I’m not sure. But I think the question of whether Yui is to blame misses the point entirely. The problem with Yui’s actions isn’t that she broke some arbitrary rule. It’s that people were hurt. What is needed next is a discussion of how to begin healing, rather than legal wrangling over whether Yui is responsible for her uncontrollable desires.

So I agree with Inaba (although of course she shouldn’t have said it that way). Was Yui responsible? I don’t know. But take some responsibility!

This advice doesn’t just apply to Yui, however…

The Church

Yui does not live alone. Despite how much she and Inaba want to lock themselves in their rooms, they live in community. In the language of Paul and of the new testament, this community is called the “church.”

And this is why Inaba is wrong. When Yui loses control of her actions, it is not just Yui that needs to take responsibility. It is the entire community, including Inaba. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Inaba asks. The answer is a clear and decisive “Yes.”

For this reason, I appreciated the scene in the classroom where Iori gets in a pointless fight. Taichi wants to help, but feels that he cannot and looks toward Inaba. Inaba runs away in an attempt at self-preservation. But then, when all seems hopeless, the crazy class president steps in and expertly defuses the situation. Inaba and friends believe they are alone in their trials with Heartseed, and that they only have each other. But they are wrong. They are not alone.

I feel that this is the problem with Taichi’s “sickening ideals” as well. He thinks that he needs to do fix everything himself. But he doesn’t need to. He is not alone.

And despite what Inaba says, I think that deep down she shares the same ideals. Did she refuse to go to Yui’s house because she didn’t want to hurt herself or help Yui? I don’t think so. She refused to go because she didn’t want to hurt Yui again.

On Judgement

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

The worst part with Heartseed’s latest magic is not that people would start doing crazy things as Inaba expected. It’s that they started judging one another and speaking their true feelings aloud. So this arc fits in perfectly with the previous one and the idea of wearing masks. There are genuinely good reasons why people wear masks and don’t always say what they think.

9 thoughts on “Kokoro Connect 07 — Sin, the Church and Judgement

  1. One of the hardest lessons I learned in life was that the flip side of Taichi’s altruistic, interventionist personality—which I share to an alarming degree (and I’m going to write about that at some point)—is a kind of moralism that easily spills into judgmentalism when pushed. I’ve snapped at people in the way he snapped at Inaban in this episode before, when I felt like I was pushed too far, and it’s a potent reminder that goodness that is built on one’s own strength is often another form of self-righteousness. The idea that I have to go help someone is really insidious. Martyr and messiah complexes can be deadly.

    That this show is going to the lengths it is to portray that is actually very impressive. It hits uncomfortably home sometimes. Whoever is writing this knows what he or she’s talking about on some deep level when it comes to certain types of human psychology.

    1. Martyr and messiah complexes can be deadly.

      Yes, moralism easily spills into judgement. It’s amazing how a vast segment of the modern church doesn’t get this despite everything Jesus had to say on the matter.

      Personally, I think I suffer from the opposite problem of Taichi, where I *don’t* feel like I have to personally help everyone, and end up not helping as much as I could. Although I still find myself being judgmental.

      I’ll look forward to your post on this.

  2. I’ve mentioned this in another forum, but I like to float this idea by you. Taking this from another perspective, Inaba’s impulses to reprimand her friends is less because of her desire to keep her distance, but rather because of her love for Taichi. It was mentioned earlier in the episode that Taichi is in more danger this time around. From this angle, Inaba scolding Yui isn’t because she felt burdened by Yui, but rather she didn’t want to endanger Taichi further. His impulses have already made him try to help Yui once already. It adds a new dynamic to Inaba’s character. Her and Taichi’s fight at the end of the episode would add new depth; Inaba really wouldn’t be good enough for Taichi, because she values him over everyone else.

    1. I think that may be part of Inaba’s reason. but I’m hesitant to say it’s all because of Taichi. Inaba seems to have realized that they’re all in this together, so I think her frustration with Yui may come from concern for Yui, herself, and the rest just as much as for Taichi. It’s hard to say though.

      But that would put Inaba’s idea that she isn’t good enough for Taichi in a different light. Still, I think the more straightforward explanation is that Taichi was being so judgmental.

  3. I’m sorry to say this but this show is slowly starting to bore me. All main characters are insufferable do-gooders. All their “sins” and “desires” seem completely harmless to me (I even confess to actively sympathizing w/ Taichi’s desire to oversleep!). It’s a bit lame. The series is way too angsty for slice-of-life and too timid for impressive psychological drama.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not saying someone needs to commit murder or rape to keep me entertained. But the desire to shout out “Yahoo” in the middle of a quizz just isn’t much of a problem in my eyes. And even Yui’s attack was just emergency assistance, no? I wonder how the creators are going to fill 17 (!) episodes with this.

    I study and appreciate your explanations, Draggle, but sometimes I think these guys don’t need lectures on Christianity, they are saints already.

    1. I actually like the fact that their desires are so harmless. I mean, I don’t generally have desires to commit crimes either… maybe that just means I’m boring though.

      I think the bigger problem with the unleashing of desires, as we saw in the latest episode, is not the desires themselves but how they react to it.

  4. I wonder how the series will progress…will the “church” come together and support each other, keep each other accountable, and help each other grow? Or will they break apart a little further before inevitably coming together?

    I love the symbolism you give of the club as a church, made up sinners should love each other and be there for one another. It reminds me of my pastor’s continued exhortation about how we weren’t made to be “lone rangers.”

    1. I actually intended for the church to be not just the club, but something bigger: the entire community. It would include the class president, the teacher, Taichi’s sister, and more.

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